John Gibbons announced today that Dustin McGowan will be moved to the Toronto Blue Jays’ bullpen. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
McGowan was hit hard last night against the Cleveland Indians allowing four earned runs in four innings while the bullpen behind him was hit even harder. At first I thought this move was made by the Blue Jays because of performance, which I was planning to rant about, but according to comments made by McGowan (h/t Shi Davidi, Sportsnet) the decision was mutual.
McGowan threw over 100 pitches and pitched seven innings just two starts ago, which was his longest appearance since 2008 but his pitch count has slowly trended downwards since. He found success using an insulin pack during games, which seemed to help at least temporarily, but now that the Blue Jays are in a brutal stretch (33 games in 34 days) it seems to be agreed upon that he can’t hold up on four days of rest.
According to Mike Wilner of Sportsnet The FAN and others, it seems either Todd Redmond or Marcus Stroman is in line for McGowan’s next start. Based on recent performance alone, I have a feeling that the Jays end up going with Redmond, who has pitched well in mop-up duty lately. However Redmond struggles mightily when having to face batters for the third time, which isn’t a great skillset for a starting pitcher (fits for a long man).
I’m not really sure what the Blue Jays can or should do with Stroman. Should they give him more time in the bullpen or throw him into the deep end in the role he’s been groomed for, which is a starting pitcher? I have no doubt Stroman will eventually become an effective starter but if he’s put in the rotation now I’d expect him to take at least a few lumps. But he’s here so you might as well give it a shot – let’s not forget J.A. Happ still makes up 1/5 of this Blue Jays’ rotation.
Regardless of how the Blue Jays and McGowan feel about the move, I can’t help but feel disappointed by the news. The chances of him stretching back out during the season if the Jays need him are slim to none – this is a one-way ticket to the bullpen. I guess we’ll really never know what Dustin McGowan could have been and to me that’s the most frustrating part of this entire ordeal.
At least he should help the bullpen, which has the second worst ERA in all of baseball at 5.33.